Merry Christmas to all!!!! (a few days late)
This year wasn’t a white Christmas for us. With the exception of about 3 years that I can remember, I have always had a white Christmas. I was born and raised in the heart of the Winter Wonderland of Wisconsin (Will that was for you…the alliteration, I mean). Even in the years that there hasn’t been snow on Christmas day (much like this year in Wisconsin, I’ve heard), it has at least been cold enough that I could wear a comfy sweater and curl up under a blanket next to the fire (Well, that fire was actually a hot cup of coffee…I only had a fireplace when I lived in Washington). Not so this year.
This year it was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit and I was in an air-conditioned house for most of the day, escaping the heat and humidity that was ravaging the countryside. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and had my swimming suit (or cozzie as it is called here) packed in my bag along with the traditional Christmas cookies I baked and brought. It was one of 3 really HOT days we’ve had here…and obviously it would be on one of the days that I associate with cold weather. The weird thing is, they do too.
I have heard person after person here comment on the fact that most of the ideas of Christmas that they stick to in South Africa come from the northern hemisphere. They watch American Christmas movies that revolve around snow and cold while sipping iced tea and lemonade in their pools (okay, maybe not at the same time). They put snowflake decals on their windows and have reindeer in lights on their lawns. And I’ve also heard people here say that they should really come up with their own Christmas traditions instead of using the ideals of a world they do not live in-namely the Great White North.
But what would they be?
Here are some suggestions:
1) New traditional foods. Instead of fruitcake and ham (gammon), they could have ostrich and kudu as the traditional meats (perhaps braaied?) with a brinjal casserole (or hotdish for you Minnesotans). Instead of gluwein and egg nog, they could drink a South African version of Sangria.
2) Because it is the beginning of summer here rather than winter, they could build sand sculptures rather than snowmen. Santa could wear swimming trunks and flip-flops rather than a thick wool suit.
3) Instead of poinsettias, they could have hibiscus bushes. Or dress up their succulents rather than conifers.
These may be the worst suggestions ever. But, I’m just trying to help. Perhaps we can use these ideas next year when we are back in the States again. It can be a blending of the cultures and a new tradition. Benefit of spending your first Christmas married in a foreign country: there are no traditions already in place.
The first one we started was whiskey on Christmas morning….
I hope your Christmases were filled with much joy and happiness. We missed being with family, so I hope you enjoyed it extra for us!